Report on maritime security of supply: need for a functional market and more Finnish seafarers

28. February 2023

Almost 90 per cent of Finland’s exports and imports are transported by sea. Sea transport and the logistics related to it are vital to the functioning of society. The report ‘Security of Supply Capacity of Finland’s Maritime Transports’, commissioned by the Maritime Transport Pool of the National Emergency Supply Organisation, estimates the current maritime transport capacity sufficient for Finland’s security of supply. This estimate is based on actual traffic volumes and scenarios of emergency conditions.

A functional maritime market is an important part of Finland’s security of supply. The domestic tonnage is not sufficient to meet Finland’s security of supply needs in emergency conditions. Approximately 70 per cent of Finland’s maritime transports are carried out by foreign vessels or vessels registered abroad, and approximately 30 per cent of Finland’s maritime transports are carried out by vessels registered in Finland.

“Finland is exceptionally dependent on sea connections. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the changed foreign and security policy situation have further highlighted Finland’s dependence on maritime transport. Moreover  The northern conditions bring additional challenges to the functionality of maritime logistics,” says Tiina Tuurnala, Chair of the Water Transport Pool and CEO of the Finnish Shipowners’ Association.

“Shipping is global business. Finnish expertise is particularly important in challenges related to the Baltic Sea. Special expertise is required to ensure and develop secure shipping on the long and winding sea lanes along the coast of the Baltic Sea that freeze over in the winter. Maritime education alone is not enough. Maritime personnel require natural career paths that continue on to roles related to the development of shipping,” says Senior Preparedness Specialist Jukka Etelävuori from the National Emergency Supply Agency.

The report’s findings highlight that the number of Finnish seafarers is declining. The shortage shipowners currently face of skilled and qualified employees will also be evident in jobs outside of shipping companies (incl. pilotage, Vessel Traffic Service, administration, ports, ferry transport and maritime education) towards the end of the current decade at the latest. Additionally, tightening environmental regulations intended to reduce emissions from shipping pose their own challenges. One of these challenges is the continued operation of winter shipping in particular in Finland with efficient and appropriate equipment that complies with regulations.

The report explains the maritime security of supply situation through examples

The report uses an example scenario to examine the sufficiency of the vessel fleet in emergency conditions.   According to the report, Finnish ro-ro/ro-pax capacity appears to be sufficient to meet all transport needs. This is with the reservation that, since these vessels can transport many different types of cargo, the need for their use may increase more than expected in emergency conditions, while the vessels may also simultaneously be in demand elsewhere, among other factors.

In the example scenario, the capacity of Finnish oil tankers would be enough to cover approximately 60 per cent of the transports needs in emergency conditions, while product tankers would cover approximately 35 per cent. For small bulk carriers, the domestic tonnage would cover approximately 40 per cent of transport needs, while large dry bulk carriers would cover approximately 30 per cent.

According to the report, the transport of containerised cargo should be secured almost completely with foreign tonnage. Foreign tonnage is also required for the transport needs related to gas tankers.

“Capabilities in times of crisis are built under normal circumstances. In order to ensure a sufficient Finnish ice-strengthened fleet and Finnish seafarers, it is essential that the Finnish flag and the operating conditions of companies in the sector are competitive under normal circumstances.” Tuurnala summarizes.

Regarding the situation of ports, the report mentions that cargo transport via ports is largely concentrated in a third of the ports and, among them, mainly in the 3–5 largest ports. Ro-ro transport and the transport of containerised goods are concentrated in a few ports in Southern Finland.

The report ‘Security of Supply Capacity of Finand’s Maritime Transports’ was commissioned by the Maritime Transport Pool of the National Emergency Supply Organisation (NESA) and Shipbrokers Finland and prepared as part of the Logistics 2030 programme of the National Emergency Supply Agency. The University of Turku prepared the report under the leadership of Professor of Logistics Lauri Ojala.

The report (in Finnish): HVO_SuomenMerikuljetustenHuoltovarmuus_280223

Further information:

  • Maritime Transport Pool Secretary Juha Savisaari, tel. +358 (0)40 5201 649,
  • General Manager of Shipbrokers Finland Sari Turkkila, tel. +358 (0)40 5263348,
  • Senior Preparedness Specialist of the National Emergency Supply Agency Jukka Etelävuori, tel. +358 (0)29 505 1003,



Juha Savisaari
Maritime Transport Pool secretary

Juha Savisaari serves as Maritime Transport Pool secretary in the Security Assurance Organization.
+358 520 1694